St. Louis city police chief speaks out about increased number of interstate shootings

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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis city police chief speaks out on the increasing number of shootings and killings on area interstates. St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden says when there’s a rolling gun battle and someone is killed it can be a challenging crime to solve.

“A lot of times, a lot of ballistic evidence is on the highway or in the car from which the shots were fired. And, also times the victims don’t see who was shooting at them,” Hayden said. “The majority of it would not be road rage but I would think it would be people loosely acquainted with each other.”

It seems no one is immune. St. Louis County council member Ernie Trakas was almost shot in what’s believed to be a road rage incident last Friday on Interstate 64.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has begun periodic enforcement. Hayden says the patrol’s efforts have been helpful.

“Right now the highway patrol is focusing on 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday and 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday,” Hayden said.

City police work closely with other departments on such incidents. St. Louis County investigated 16 firearm assaults on highways in 2020. The chief says St. Louis is not alone, an increase in roadway shootings is being seen in other metropolitan cities across the country.

“I have noticed that I would see it on the news or through some type of shared information with the major chiefs association, that other cities are experiencing similar activities,” Hayden said.

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